Opposition grows to Chicago migrants eviction policy for shelter stays, many ask mayor to reconsider

Evelyn Holmes Image
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Little Village Community Council opposes evicting migrants from shelters
The Little Village Community Council is calling for Mayor Brandon Johnson to end a policy forcing migrant families to leave city shelters after 60 days.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Little Village Community Council is calling for Mayor Brandon Johnson to end a policy forcing migrant families to leave city shelters after 60 days.

Director Baltazar Enriquez said his organization is already seeing the effects of the city's eviction policy.

ABC7 Chicago is now streaming 24/7. Click here to watch

"It breaks our hearts that some of them are staying out under bridges. They're staying out in the parks and we're looking for people who can donate tents. People that can donate sleeping bags. Again, these families have no other resources," he said.

He joins a chorus of concerned people who want the evictions to end, including the Chicago City Council's Latino Caucus, who this week called on Johnson to end the policy. The group said the city has ample capacity to house new arrivals, especially with recent budget allocations.

The caucus's 15 members demanded the mayor's administration, "end the 60-day limited stay and create more humane extension periods, improve tracking, and report where evicted people end up." They also want the administration to share updated plans on spending and responding to potential evictions.

In an emailed statement, the Johnson Administration responded in part, "The City of Chicago continues to evaluate the shelter stay policies based on data, budget constraints, and feedback from direct service providers...City officials...look forward to continued discussions with external partners to resettle families with dignity and compassion."

"It's not easy when you have no work permit, when you can't work, when you can either sell as a peddler or beg for money," Enriquez said.

The evictions began in mid-March, and in some cases were delayed so the children of asylum seekers could remain in school. Once evicted, migrants to return to the landing zone and start the shelter placement process all over again.

Some city officials remain concerned about a possible summertime spike in migrant arrivals as Chicago takes center stage as host of the Democratic National Convention.